Slash (2002)
By: Devon B. on Novemeber 11, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Universal (Australia). Region 2 & 4 PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, French DD 5.1, Italian DD 5.1, German DD 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1. English (FHI), French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, Polish Subtitles. 90 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Neal Sundstrom
Starring:James O'Shea, Steve Railsback, Zuleikha Robinson, David Dukas, Craig Kirkwood
Screenplay: Gus Silber, Stephen Ronald Francis
Country: South Africa
A movie called Slash featuring a rock band…and yet no cool hats. How sad. I got excited when I saw the film was a South African production, but it's set in America. Equally sad.

Slash opens with a young boy playing in a barn. His grandfather comes in with a corpse, but then catches his grandson. While the child makes his escape, the grandfather accidentally sets himself on fire.

Cut to a guy and his partner driving down the road. He's wearing a mask kind of like the ghost face one in Scream. That's always a good sign. To really slam home the fact that this a self-aware film, the guy swaps the mask for a goalie one, then swaps again to some other mask that I couldn't tell what it was, before he crashes his car. The couple get killed, just in case you forgot Slash is a slasher.

Cut to a band named Slash who play bad new wave type crape while smiling too much. The crowd is completely uninterested, with good reason, but mysteriously, a record label guy is impressed. Even the band are surprised by this turn of events, but before they can get ready to rehearse for a label showcase, the band's lead is informed he's had a death in the family. So the whole band go kick it on the family farm, a place with more fog than an early John Carpenter flick. Naturally, people start to die, they just don't do it quick enough. The film climaxes with a glaring plot hole, but that's not the only annoying thing.

The film's attempts at humour are just as annoying. For example, in the early car crash scene, the car hits a fence that has a sign for MacDonald's farm. I thought that was a nice subtle joke. Maybe it would've been, but the film does not let go of the Old MacDonald references from then on, with several characters singing the song. I don't like to be bludgeoned by humour, or at least by humour this facile, and I wanted the characters to just shut the fuck up.

Perhaps Slash shouldn't be viewed as a colossal failure, but rather a collection of little failures. The band tries to have a witty Tarantino style debate. They fail. The actors playing the family members attempt to be creepy weirdos. They fail. The film constantly attempts to be funny. It fails. I'm not sure if the thespians are trying to deliver quality performances, but if they were, they failed.

Of particular note in the list of failures on screen during Slash is the angry black keyboardist, the 'breakout' comic relief character. No one seems to mind that he carries a gun everywhere and will pull it on people, and the occasional rooster, in a moment's notice, which is just bizarre. I was hoping he'd accidentally shoot himself. No luck. I'll admit I did find a yokel showing the him up mildly amusing, but I think it was just because the keyboardist was so annoying. Maybe that was the intent of the filmmaker's, but I think the keyboardist is supposed to be cool, because he's the 'breakout' comic relief character. I have to keep saying that, because while watching the film you might confuse him for a 'token' stereotypical black guy.

As for our slasher, well, it's a guy dressed as a scarecrow. Yes, Slash stands proudly alongside such prestigious films as Scarecrow, Scarecrows, and Night of the Scarecrow with its killer. Whoopee.
Video
Slash is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is enhanced for 16:9 televisions. The image is sharp, as Slash is a newer film, but there is occasional light grain. The colours occasionally seem muted, and detail can be lost in the blacks. The film is actually shot very well. The DP must've been more competent than anyone else on hand, as there's some nicely staged images and the scenes are all well photographed.
Audio
Audio is available in an English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish 5.1 mixes, with subs in nine languages. I watched the English mix, and found the dialog to be clear and the volume levels well balanced. However, the score is awful, making use of a variety of musical genres yet still managing to only use shit songs. The live show at the end sounds muted, and the individual instruments are lost within the 'live' song's mix.
Extra Features
Nothing. Must be because all the subtitles took up a lot of room.
The Verdict
Slash is a stupid movie about a very fictional band; I mean, the drummer is the most normal. As a comedy, the movie's awful, and it's too dry to be a good slasher. Slash is a South African production, and if people from there want to make a truly horrifying movie, perhaps they should look to utilizing events and locals from their own country as inspiration.
Movie Score
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